Sunday, 17 February 2008

Gluten, Cosmetics and Squalene


Gluten, Cosmetics and Squalene

This is a new warning out about products that include brand names from Unilever (for example, Pond’s, Dove and more).
An ingredient called squalene is used for hair and skin products. Historically, it has been manufactured using shark liver. EWG (The Environmental Working Group) put some pressure on Unilever to change their source of squalene to a plant based material. Unilever has, according to Enviroblog, issued a statement that it will indeed switch over to plant based squalene.

HOORAY for EWG! We like sharks and don’t want them to be killed for our cosmetics.

Guess what the plant choices are? Yup, wheat and rice.

Luckily for us with the recent upswing in the price of wheat, they may choose rice… BUT if you as a gluten free consumer want to make your voice heard, now is the time!

Call Unilever (a company that many of gf folks depend upon – whether they know it or not - for their gluten free status of soaps, conditioners and more) and let them know that your vote is for rice-based squalene. If they get enough calls, they will hear the gluten free community.

As always, wishing you a higher quality of life,


Saturday, 9 February 2008

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

I'll be back later with more.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


Even gf oats have proven to cause inflammation in celiacs (another one that says it causes inflammation in the general public). They have even been proven to cause villous atrophy. But let's just consider the inflammation aspect of this particular food.

Now sure, inflammation isn't quite the same as a Marsh III lesion (considered for a celiac gold)... but still... if you're suffering malabsorption due to intestinal damage/challenge/stress... Do you really want to risk inflammation?

So what's the alternative? What about quinoa, which contains (what is said to be one of the most easily digestible proteins).

What about sorghum?

What about buckwheat?

Even being oat free, a rotation diet is still very doable... once you find your best food sources.

Does it mean that oats are all evil? Of course not. Our planet provides us with everything we need to live well. The real question is, are we using it well?

Food for thought.

New, More Sensitive, Food Testing in the Future?

2008 Feb

New Food Test Established to Identify Gliadin (down to 0.5ppm)

Canada, as far as I know, has the most proactive legislation to protect and support those with gluten sensitivity.

Presently the CA (Codex Alimentarius - International medical standards body put in place in 1963 by the FAO and WHO) allows a 200ppm gliadin count in food content in order to qualify for a "gluten free" label, while Canadian legislation only allows for 20ppm.

Interestingly, some people cannot even tolerate the 20 ppm, leaving them, frequently, to a paleo. diet for resolution.

This new testing is claimed to have a sensitivity down to 0.5 ppm in hydrolyzed food.

What does that mean for us?

It means that the legislative bodies can become even more strict about the standard definition of 'gluten free' food and as such, will mean that there would be more processed and packaged foods (labelled gf under stricter guidelines) available to more of the gluten sensitive population.

The end result is way off in the future... But it's exciting to think about the implications, nevertheless, with the impact it will have for our children and grandchildren who inherit this particular genetic coding.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Plant Oils Versus Lard

When first on this diet, most of our 'treat' food turned out to be things that were fried, like donuts and chicken balls (because I was really missing Chinese food).

Well, at first, I used peanut oil. However, my Dad began sneezing every time he ate my deep fried foods. So, I switched to grapeseed oil.

The grapeseed oil I had found was cold-pressed, which I knew was good. So we started using it on our salads and noticed a big improvement in the condition of our skin. So it became a staple at the table along with the salt and pepper.

However, once it was cooked, like in the deep fryer or for a stir fry, I noticed that skin eruptions began to occur. Eventually, I backed up fried foods to such an extent that the connection between cooked oils and skin eruptions became quite blatant, while raw oil seemed quite the opposite. (Henceforth my opinion is that, once heated, plant oils become something quite evil.)

And so I switched to pig fat for my deep frying and noticed that we no longer 'broke out'.

Eventually I came to want some lard to make some old fashioned icing sugar for a cake. Well, the store-bought lard looked oddly white to me, not to mention the fact that the additives made me shiver.

So, now that I've found my organic farmer who is absolutely passionate about her animals, their psychological and physical welfare and her final product, I've decided to finally make my own lard.

Of course, as always, I enjoy reading up on this stuff beforehand and found out such interesting stuff that I thought I'd share my startling finds and sources:

Pork fat is one of the highest sources of vitamin D. It *can* cause an improvement in heart health. It is*not* a saturated fat.

Like I always say though... too much of anything is *not* a good thing. So, keep it down to once a week... maybe twice. My strict belief after all that I've experienced is that the most important aspect impacting improved health is: Rotation! Rotation! Rotation!

The New Homemaker
Obsession with Food: Lard Rendering Recipe

My biggest problems regarding finding good information had more to do with the fact that typical pork has herbicide and pesticide residues... as well as the lard not being homemade but the grocery store lard which is a different animal altogether (figuratively speaking) as mentioned above. So, if there's anything good about grocery store lard, I figure that homemade is doing much better than that.

I had some trouble finding any science backup information that states lard is a monounsaturated fat or high in vitamin D, as stated in The New Homemaker. That doesn't mean it's not out there though, so I'll keep looking and add the abstracts when I find them.

The oil fumes article was extremely interesting. And since I'm always trying to pack some weight onto my kids and increase their protein intake, I was really happy to find several of the references. I especially enjoy the one about lard and it's use to help correct a thiamin deficiency and because of this, believed to be the reason for yielding positive results in some failure to thrive kids.

Recipe Link to "The Goblet"

Experimental Diabetes and Diet
Methylmercury Toxicity and Fat Intake
Oil Fumes
Cholesterol and Triglycerides, Lard and Vitamin C
Biotin Deficiency and Lard's Effect on Weight Gain
Red Meat is not Associated with Colorectal Cancer
Porcine Diet and Fatty Acid Development
Full Fat Diet the Cure to Hypertension?
Porcine Diet and Conjugated Linoleic Acid resulting in Saturated Fat
Bladder Cancer and Diet High in Meat and Fermented Product
Pork Livers Greatest Protein Quality
Thiamine Deficiency and Failure To Thrive
Vitamin E Supplementation and Lipid Stability
Porcine Supplementation Results

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Iodine Overview

Many areas of the world have a historical prevalence for thyroid issues due to iodine deficiency. One of those areas is the Great Lakes region which is rather heavily populated.

Often people in these regions are misled to believe that their vegetables are a source of iodine when in fact, because the land is iodine deficient, so are the plants grown in that area.

Iodine is often an ingredient in medications and is often used to sterilize milking equipment in dairy operations. Therefore care must still be taken because if a person (children in particular) is ingestion large amounts of dairy and/or cough/cold medicines, there is a risk of too much iodine if supplementation is pursued.

This bit of knowledge extends to people who are on a homemade bread diet, gluten free diet or dairy free diet as they may not be achieving the iodine levels required for proper thyroid function. I urge them to talk to a medical professional about iodine supplementation (even more so for those who are on a dairy free, low salt diet).

Those who may be on a homemade bread (of any kind), grain low, paleo diet or grain free diet as they are not receiving the same supplementation as general society (who eat store bought bread that is artificially supplemented with iodine). This issue is often overlooked by medical professionals and review often needs to be initiated by the patient/spokesperson for the person(s) at issue.

Dr. James Howenstine has written an article that suggests even people on 'regular' store-bought bread are now running the risk of being low in iodine, since some breads may include bromine instead of iodine. He states that bromine not only replaces iodine in the bread but inhibits iodine uptake by the thyroid gland (iodine that comes from other foods).

Iodine deficiency can contribute to Grave's Disease, adrenal fatigue, Raynaud's, goitre, cretinism (rare if salt is supplemented with iodine and used regularly in the diet), fatigue, weakness, depression or weight gain. Even signs as simple as physical and/or mental fatigue can be an indicator of iodine deficiency. Lead toxicity is another issue that is affected to iodine deficiency. It is iodine that aids the body in the purging of lead. Insufficient iodine and lead levels have a better possibility of building up. It has also been strongly associated with breast cancer.

As always, my interest in failure to grow makes this an extremely interesting realm of information and anyone dealing with ftt (failure to thrive) should address the possibilities with their health care provider.

I have noted subtle differences that seems to emerge slowly in our family dynamic with addition/removal of high iodine foods. Whether it's the iodine levels or something else is debateable. However, we seem to fare better with these foods and I have found myself, several times over the past few years realizing that if I overlook the addition of these foods within our diet, we just don't do as well... whatever the reason.


Sea vegetables, like seaweed (dulse is one kind) can help prevent a myriad of issues that develop due to iodine deficiency. Likewise, this type of food, because of it's high levels of iodine must be carefully monitored by people on thyroid medications.

Though it is commonly believed that iodine added to salt is sufficient, there are many medical professionals who debate this issue hotly and insist that supplemented salt is not anywhere near sufficient for the thyroid gland to work as effectively as it should.

It is often said that Asian diets are higher in iodine. However, this type of blanket statement is debatable. Generally speaking, I would consider it a 'rumour' and not base my dietary intake on how closely a person follows an 'Asian Diet'.

A high fish diet is also not an indicator of iodine levels since one would need the knowledge of where the fish came from, on which to base this supposition.

One suggestion to increase iodine levels would be to add it (in the form of dried dulse or kelp) to two of your basic recipes (spaghetti sauce or taco meat) that are enjoyed twice a week. Sea vegetables are often salty and may subsequently require a reduction of salt in these recipes.

Sardines are another source and could be used instead of salt or sea vegetables in such dishes. If bones are intact, mash it all up and it will add a good bit of calcium to your recipe also. Oily fish will have the added benefit of essential fatty acids. It is said that because sardines have such a short lifespan, they do not have the same issues regarding mercury. Anchovies would be another suggestion.

Recipes to add these ingredients would be pizza (to replace the salt in the dough or tomato sauce), spaghetti sauce, taco meat, rice casseroles, etc.

As always, be certain that you are not allergic to either seafood or iodine (said to be unrelated in some source articles though I'd imagine there are times when this claim would be debatable). Though some allergies are not common, it is always wise to be aware and take care. Consult your personal medical professional re: sensitivities to these foods.

Here is a link to more info. that I collected and posted at Neurotalk a couple of years ago: